27 May 2021
The European Union (EU)-Japan Summit 2021 was held today via videoconference, and both countries stated their support for the holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe and secure manner from 23 July this summer.
“We have, of course, said we are looking forward to the Olympic Games,” said the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who represented the EU alongside the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. “The signal from the European Union that more than 100 million doses of vaccines have been authorised to be exported to Japan is also a strong sign that we support any preparation for the Olympic Games and the safety of these Games.”
Japan was represented by Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, and in the joint statement released after the summit both parties said: “We support the holding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe and secure manner this summer as a symbol of global unity in defeating COVID-19.”
Confidence on countermeasures
Meanwhile, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu also today confirmed the commitment to the international community to make public health a central priority to hold safe and secure Games, and to keep communicating as plans develop.
“The COVID-19 infection outbreak needs to be contained regardless of the Olympics, and that is something we are doing with all efforts. […] We need to have safe and secure Olympic Games. […] [Counter]measures are important for the Olympic Games; the stakeholders and the Japanese government have considered that, and the specifics were also considered by the Olympic Committee already,” Kato explained.
“The safety measures need to be advanced, so people have to work hand in hand with the parties concerned in a careful manner and, as needs arise, we would announce them inside and outside of Japan.”
The commitment was mentioned yesterday by United States White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, acknowledging “the careful consideration that the Japanese government and the International Olympic Committee are weighing as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympics”.She also stated that US President Joe Biden proudly supports the US athletes who will be competing at Tokyo 2020.